Bridgerton’: The Random Reason Shonda Rhimes Turned the Books Into a Netflix Series

Shonda Rhimes is behind Bridgerton. An original series from Netflix, the program is based on romance novels by author Julia Quinn. Since its premiere on December 25, 2020, millions of people have watched Bridgerton. But how did Rhimes get the idea to make a TV show set in Regency-era London?

Regé-Jean Page and Phoebe Dynevor on 'Bridgerton'
Phoebe Dynevor and Regé-Jean Page on Bridgerton | Liam Daniel/Netflix

Shonda Rhimes left ABC for Netflix in 2017

Rhimes is known for dominating ABC’s programming. At one time, the network ran three of her shows back-to-back, culminating in its #TGIT — Thank God It’s Thursday —  lineup featuring Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, and How to Get Away with Murder

After years with the network, Rhimes had gotten restless. “I felt like I was dying,” she told The Hollywood Reporter in October 2020. As her contract with ABC came to an end, Netflix began courting her. What finally made her make the jump from ABC to Netflix was a visit to a theme park. Ultimately, Rhimes left ABC following an incident with Disneyland park passes.

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Shonda Rhimes read a ‘Bridgerton’ book on vacation

During a January 2021 interview on Tamron Hall, Quinn discussed how the series based on her books came to be. 

“The way I understand it, Shonda ran out of books to read on vacation and somehow stumbled on one of mine,” Quinn said. “It’s crazy to think that my life is forever changed because Shonda didn’t bring enough reading material on vacation, but that’s honestly what happened.” 

In another interview with Oprah Magazine, the author recalled Netflix coming to her about bringing the Bridgerton family to life on TV. She explained that she didn’t pitch the idea to anyone. They came to her. 

“It was really out of nowhere,” Quinn told the publication. “I would talk to people later and they’d ask, ‘How did you sell your books to Hollywood?’ I would say, ‘I didn’t.’ They just came to me. Nobody in Hollywood was adapting books like this. So it didn’t even occur to me to try to sell them.”

Rhimes’ production company, Shondaland, is behind Bridgerton along with Netflix. Rhimes is an executive producer on the series while Quinn served as a consultant during the production of season 1.  

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Netflix has already confirmed ‘Bridgerton’ Season 2 

The Bridgerton family will be back for more bodice-ripping scenes and gossip from Lady Whistledown (voiced by Julie Andrews). Nearly a month following the program’s debut, Netflix confirmed Bridgerton is getting a second season.

While there aren’t many details readily available about future episodes, the cast and fans have ideas about what to expect. If the show continues with the structure of Quinn’s books, Bridgerton Season 2 will cover The Viscount Who Loved Me, which centers around Anthony Bridgerton (Jonathan Bailey). 

Watch Bridgerton Season 1 on Netflix.

Season 1 again.

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